This has been a hard month for our community. We have faced legislative defeats, cyber-bullying, physical and emotional abuse, and the heart breaking loss of so many young people.
Asher Brown, Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Billy Lucas, Cody Barker, Raymond Chase, Alec Henrison, and others have all died needlessly in the past few weeks. Chris Armstrong is the target of maddening cyber-bullying from a government official in Michigan. There have been alarming incidents of violence in neighborhoods and schools across the country. Somehow it seems as if the problems we face, while not new, are getting worse.
As we make great strides in our movement and become more visible and accepted we can expect an increase in desperation and violence from those who are getting the wrong message: we are different and should be feared. This message is being heard by a disheartening number of people and is perpetuated by organizations like the National Organization for Marriage. The thugs, the occasional Assistant District Attorney, and the schoolyard bullies didn’t come up with this idea on their own. Determining its root is difficult and sometimes its presence is only detected through tragedy and violence. Eradicating homophobia is such a large and amorphous problem that it can seem impossible to tackle.
The good news is that we’re winning. Polls are showing ever-growing support. In Texas there is majority support for civil unions, this CNN report shows growing support for Marriage nationwide, and Andrew Sullivan shows that we are making progress across all generations.
We are winning over the hearts and minds of our neighbors. Talking about Equality with our families, in our classes, and in our workplaces is fueling this change. Organizations like Freedom to Marry (which has a toolkit for discussing marriage), the Make It Better Project, and the It Gets Better Project are pushing this conversation in public and empowering us to have it in our personal lives.
October 11th is National Coming Out Day. In light of recent events and in the hope of what we can achieve in the future, what better time to start a new conversation? When we talk about equality we win.